Review: Riddick

Posted by Matthew on September 10, 2013
Movies, Reviews

Riddick

Apologies for the tardiness of this, I’m on holiday again.

You know it’s been 13 years since Pitch Black hit theatre screens. Not an amazing movie by any measure, but entertaining enough that it made a bunch of money and put Vin Diesel on the map.

In the movie a transport ship crashes and the few survivors have to deal with Richard B. Riddick (Diesel), a sociopathic mercenary who happens to have night vision being transported in said ship but then it turns out that the planet is infested with monsters that only survive in the dark and that there is an eclipse coming, so they have to work with Riddick to survive. Talk about shitty contrived luck.

Both of these facts lead to a sequel in 2004 in which Riddick turns out to be the prophesied hero who will stop an army of dead guys who are killing their way across…. you know what? I’m not even going to finish that because it doesn’t matter. Chronicles or Riddick wasn’t that good, and this new movie basically doesn’t pay any attention to it. In fact this movie is pretty much literally just Pitch Black 2. Or maybe Pitch Black Again.

Is that such a bad thing? Well…. yes and no.

Riddick finds Riddick deposed from the leadership of the second films bad guys. Yes, that’s a spoiler if you haven’t seen Chronicles however that’s literally all the information you get about the second film from this one. There are bad guys, Karl Urban is one of them, and 30 seconds later Riddick is abandoned on a desolate planet.

This isn’t a bad thing, in fact the first act of the movie is pretty good. Riddick has to learn to survive against the conditions of said planet (including no drinkable water and a monster) and for good measure we get to see him adopt and raise a space puppy.

Yes, a good portion of this movie is “a boy and his space dog“. That’s not a bad thing though, the way this section plays out in montage with very little dialogue is entertaining as hell.

Then Riddick realizes that this planet’s monster is condition specific (it needs to be in rain/water) and that soon that condition will be everywhere (there’s a storm a comin’!) so he triggers a beacon which summons two bands of mercenaries to the planet.

This is where the movie gets bad and also where it becomes Pitch Black Again. The second act is basically the mercenaries engaging in machismo toward each other while constantly telling the audience how afraid of Riddick they are while Riddick himself messes with them, takes a few of them out, and is generally creepy as fuck in regards to the one woman character played by Katee Sackhoff.

Then the rain comes, everyone has to work together, more people die, a few characters make it off the planet, Riddick is so badass he turns the lesbian straight for a night (yes, that happens, it’s exactly as sexist and stupid as it sounds) and everyone who lives lives happily every after.

In case you can’t tell, this isn’t a very good movie. It has a few decent action scenes and there’s some parts that are unintentionally hilarious which almost make up for how dumb it is, but at the end of the day it is just a dumb action movie with some serious misogyny problems.

If you’ve seen the trailer and think it looks interesting you’d probably have a better time just renting Pitch Black and watching that. It’s not an amazing movie, but at least it makes sense within it’s own set of rules, has some actually developed characters other than Riddick himself, and at home you can have a beer or two while you watch.

Side note: Riddick’s full name is Richard B. Riddick. I can’t wait for that time in the future when someone feels the need to reimagine these movies because they’ve run out of ideas, and Riddick is recast in a space western as Dick Riddck, the fastest gun hand in the quadrant. That is to say, someone in Hollywood please see this and make that happen.

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  • Nice review Matthew. Can’t expect a movie starring Vin to be smart or thought-provoking, but you can expect it to be fun, which this is.

    • Matthew

      Thanks Dan, I disagree though. The first act was good, the rest of it was just kinda dumb. And misogynistic. And just a retread of previous material.

      Though it was unintentionally hilarious a few times!

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